Review: Saturday Night Live - Taylor Swift
by Annie Wu, posted Nov 8th 2009 9:40AM
(S35E05) I had to talk myself through being allowed to criticize Taylor Swift. Ever since Kanye West VMA outburst turned everyone in America into Swift's over-protective mom, she's been shown even more as an innocent country-inspired sweetheart. Every time she messed up in this episode, I felt the need to hold back any not-super-great remarks because, well, she's a teeny-bopper! Teeny-boppers are just kids goofin' around!
And then I have to pause and remind myself that she's almost 20-years-old, around the same age as Shia LaBeouf and Ellen Page when they first hosted and Abby Elliiott when she initially joined the featured players. Screw it, there's no need to hold back. Swift is a musician, so we can't expect her acting skills to be super-good, but the fact I keep thinking she's only 14 shouldn't affect anything else.
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I can say: This episode was simultaneously forgettable and, in a lot of places, rather cringeworthy. Swift's timing really did a number on the pacing of the entire show (see: "The View", Hollywood Dish" and "Penelope Wedding"). It may have been a combination of nerves and her level of acting experience, but there were enough little mistakes to make it look like she forgot there were cue cards in the middle of the scene.
On the other hand, when she was singing, she did very well (hey, this is a lot coming from someone like me) and her monologue was, for the most part, pretty cute. See? I'm making an effort not to crap all over her hard work.
For me, Swift's surprise acting highlight was her short Shakira impression, which was absolutely hilarious and scarily spot-on. It's a shame that was part of the final sketch of the night, airing during an hour at which most of her core fans were probably already deep in their REM phase.
Before they dropped into their midnight sleep-coma, though, I'm sure they appreciated the New Moon parody, Firelight, which included Frankenstein monsters and mummies. Kudos to Swift for including the non-stop Kristen Stewart lip-biting. Now, if only she had captured her dead eyes as well.
Some other notable performances included Jason Sudeikis' Glenn Beck and Kristen Wiig's Greta Van Susteren from the cold open, as well as Amy Poehler's brief return for Weekend Update's "Really!?! with Seth and Amy." All the little moments in the driving PSA also elicited a few chuckles ("Y'know, before me, your father was married to a Korean woman").
On that note, I'm concerned by how the "Scared Straight" sketch actually makes me laugh. I don't like that I like it, but I do. It's not high comedy by any means, but the sheer level of inappropriate aggression plus barely relevant pop culture is really working for me.
Also, we got to see multiple players break character from laughing, which is a sort of a rare moment with this SNL generation, especially when you compare it to the days of Jimmy "I Am Hair Gel And Giggles" Fallon and company in the late 90s/early 2000s.
And that's about it. I'm pretty sure I'll forget this episode existed as soon as the season's over. Maybe even a little before.
Here are some select video clips from the evening to keep your memory going until that time:
[Watch episodes and clips of Saturday Night Live and other shows over at SlashControl.]